The new roadmap for living alongside Covid-19 will be published this morning.
It will contain a system whereby different counties will have different restrictions based on the prevalence of the virus locally.
Latest figures shows that 208 more people have tested positive for Covid-19 in 21 counties including Carlow and Kilkenny, with more than half of the new cases, 108,in Dublin.
There have been no more deaths reported.
The new system will have five levels – with level one being the lightest and level five being the most restrictive and close to the full lockdown we had in March.
Counties may be at different levels at different times and the plan will outline the criteria for a county moving up a level which will be based on the cases per 100,000 along with other factors like the rate of community transmission, hospitalisation, ICU numbers and even the time of year.
Most counties will be put on level two for the moment, with Dublin likely to be level three with greater restrictions on home visits in particular. The aim of the plan is to keep schools, creches and businesses open in as many of the scenarios as possible with the government hoping that these rules will allow people to have a life while also saving lives.
Weddings & funerals will be treated as special cases distinct from other organised gatherings while there’s also sections on transport and the elderly or medically vulnerable who’ve been asked to cocoon.
Spectator sport is expected to return and there will be changes to the rules around international travel.
Much has been made of poor communication from this government so far and huge political capital’s been invested in today’s unveiling which will tell people what life in Ireland will look like in the next nine months.
Under the plan it’s understood that drink-only pubs in Dublin won’t be able to reopen next Monday.
Professor of infectious diseases, Jack Lambert, says that would be wrong adding “Pubs in Dublin should have been opened a couple of months ago when the virus was even lower than it is currently and many of the restaurants currently open should not be open because they’re not Covid safe so I think if you put a plan for the pubs that’s safe & has all the Covid prevention strategies in place I think it’s perfectly safe to open the pubs”.
While for those in level two, according to the roadmap, ‘wet bars’ would have a capacity limit of 25 people which Donall O’Keeffe, from the Licensed Vintners’ Association, believes would be a big disappointment saying “It wouuld be a commercial disaster, we can’t see why such a limit would be imposed on wet pubs, we feel the same as restaurants, the same as pubs that serve food that the capacity in the pub should be its capacity with the social distancing measures in place, ultimately it should be a function of the square footage of the pub; large pubs have larger capacities, small pubs have smaller capacities, a blanket 25 would be a commercial disaster”.
It comes as researchers reveal that one in every five small and medium business ran at a loss during lockdown.
It’s believed Irish SMEs lost between six and ten billion euro between March and June.
They say that figure could rise as high as 15 billion euro by the end of the year.
Conor O’Toole from the ESRI says it’s left many with their savings accounts depleted & it leaves them badly exposed if Brexit causes another economic shock.
Meanwhile, more than 5,200 people locally are still getting the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
There are more changes to the payment on the way as it moves to three tiers from next week.
3,013 people in Kilkenny and 2,252 in Carlow will get the PUP into their bank accounts this morning.
That’s down more than 400 since last week and just a fraction of the 18,000 getting the payment at the start of May.
Things will change for many of those however when the rates change from two-tiers to three from next Thursday.
If they earned over €300 a week before the pandemic they will get €300 per week from now on
if they earned between €200 and €300 the PUP rate will change to €250 a week; and If they earned less than €200 (gross) per week they will continue to get €203 – there is no change for this category.
There’s also 2,144 local people who are medically certified for the €350 Enhanced Medical Benefit due to having tested positive for the virus or due to being told to self-isolate.
€65.5 million is being paid out in PUP payments this morning.